Animade is an award-winning animation studio near Old Street in London. Based in a converted loft with exposed brick walls and wooden beams, the team moved there in 2014, initially kitting out the space with wooden panels, fairy lights, loads of plants and a games room to make it feel cosy and homely.
Today, it’s full to the brim with trinkets, pictures and toys they’ve collected over the years, as well as prints of their own illustrations. It's an inspiring creative workplace, perfect for when the team are putting together animations for the likes of Dropbox, IBM and Facebook. We caught up with Animade to ask different members of their team how they feel about where they work.
Describe your space... How do you make it work for you?
James (Co-Founder and Director): We're lucky in that we have so much natural light with windows running the length of the office on both sides. It's kind of got a bit of an ark feel about it.
When we first found the space it was completely empty, so we worked with Alix at Finch Interiors who found some great ways of creating private areas while maintaining the light and airy feel we loved. The vertical steel bars create subtle divisions without sacrificing that, plus they're ideal for hanging plants and pictures from. They're the perfect way to keep a balanced feel in the space.
How do you start each day?
Katie (New Business): I'll cycle in most days unless it's a sideways-rain-kinda-day or I have a client meeting. If I'm in the office first thing, I’ll start by having breakfast with my colleagues in the kitchen, usually discussing films, TV or the news.
Like most studios, we’re addicted to coffee and usually, somebody will have made a pot (and by somebody I mean one of our animators... thanks, Stew)! We kick off every day with a 9am stand-up, where everyone gives a snapshot of what they’ll be focusing on that day, and what they worked on the day before.
Next, I'll check my calendar, emails, Slack (and Twitter) and make sure the Sonos doesn’t have the same playlist as yesterday; I used to be the studio manager and this is a habit that I’ll never be able to shake!
Do you have a favourite corner?
Amy (Head of Marketing): 'The nook' is a cosy little room tucked away in a corner of the studio near the lounge area. Beanbags, fairy lights and a low-lit lamp make it feel quite welcoming, and it's a great spot to get stuck into work when you need some quiet concentration time – for me, that’s often when I’m working on longer-form written content. There are also some games consoles and a big TV in there for those that like a bit of lunchtime play.
The studio as a whole has naturally shifted and changed with us since we moved here three years ago, but there’s always been a cosy break-out space of some kind or another. We think they’re pretty important!
What's the local scene like?
Georgie (Project Manager): We’re just north of Old Street roundabout so you’ll often see a lot of startup, tech and creative folk pottering about, coffees in hand. It’s quite a buzzy area, with some fantastic art galleries close by, like the Victoria Miro and my personal fave, the brutalist icon Barbican.
Although we usually make our lunches and eat together at the studio, the area is by no means short of food spots; Old Street underground always has new pop-ups and great little food stalls, including a shop whose menu consists solely of avocado-related foods... to satisfy the millennials among us!
If we fancy more of a quiet lunch or coffee we usually head to the cafes on Pitfield Street. The Curious Yellow Cafe is a particular favourite and during the summer we have a fair few alfresco lunches in the little church green nearby. Pitfield Street is also home to our local and favourite pub, The George and Vulture, who handily serve amazing sourdough pizzas and a good beer selection for after-work gatherings.
What important features lie in your workspace? How do they help?
Lana (Senior Creative): We’ve got some really fancy handwash in the bathroom that makes us all very happy. Also, the Nespresso machine and constant supply of fresh coffee beans! Because we’re all coffee addicts!
We’ve got the Sonos blasting tunes (quietly) in the background, which makes the studio nice and lively and sets a good working mood. Plus, having a big open space with windows going down both sides helps make for a comfortable space – no animation dungeon for us!
How does the space reflect your personality? Who you are and what you do...
Tom (Co-Founder and Creative Director): The sprawling plants amidst the wood and brick make for a comforting and homely vibe. Our studio culture has always been focused on friendliness and openness so the space itself is an extension of those key values.
It promotes a wonderful feeling of calm, which endures even through the most high-pressured time periods. Our previous space was the polar opposite in terms of size and layout, and while it was great in its own way, we feel that having the right space can have an amazing impact on a team’s creativity and output.
All images courtesy of Animade